Ohio State Has Had Lots Of Trouble In Postseason Against SEC Teams

Eight times Ohio State has taken on a SEC team in a bowl, and has lost eight times

Jan. 6, 2008

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - On paper, there's not a whole lot separating Ohio State and LSU when they play for the national championship on Monday night.

However, the Buckeyes have some ugly history working against them, history that has dogged the program for three decades.

Eight times Ohio State has taken on a Southeastern Conference team in a bowl, and has lost eight times. It has become another heavy piece of baggage the Buckeyes have to lug around, particularly in the wake of last year's 41-14 beating at the hands of the SEC's Florida Gators in the national title game.

Since LSU is also from the SEC, a lot has been made of that woeful track record. Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel doesn't flinch when asked if too much is made of it.

"When there's a fact, there's a fact," he said of the 0-8 mark. "I know this: since I've been here we've played South Carolina and didn't succeed and we've played Florida and didn't succeed. How can you make too much of the truth?"

Here's a look at what's gone wrong in the previous postseason meetings between Ohio State and the SEC:

Jan. 2, 1978
Sugar Bowl
New Orleans, La.
Alabama 35, Ohio State 6

The Crimson Tide of coach Paul "Bear" Bryant absolutely dominated the Buckeyes (9-3) of coach Woody Hayes before 76,811 in the Louisiana Superdome. Alabama practiced at home until just four days before the game, while Hayes had the Buckeyes go to New Orleans two weeks early because he was concerned they might not be able to have full workouts in cold, snowy Columbus. Too long at the bowl site? Almost four decades later, that's still a nagging question as the Buckeyes prepare for an SEC team.

Jan. 1, 1990
Hall of Fame Bowl
Tampa, Fla.
Auburn 31, Ohio State 14

The Buckeyes led 14-3 late in the second quarter, but the Tigers flipped the momentum with a touchdown just 11 seconds before halftime. It was just another late-season flop for Ohio State under coach John Cooper. The Buckeyes had climbed back from lopsided early losses to USC and Illinois to battle Michigan for the Big Ten title, only to lose 28-18, before falling flat in the bowl game.

Jan. 1, 1993
Citrus Bowl
Orlando, Fla.
Georgia 21, Ohio State 14

 

 

This game featured two of the premier running backs in the nation in Georgia's Garrison Hearst and the Buckeyes' Robert Smith. Hearst would finish with 163 yards rushing and two touchdowns, Smith with 112 and two scores. With the game tied at 14 in the final quarter, Ohio State QB Kirk Herbstreit, better at analyzing football than playing it, bumped into FB Jeff Cothran on a handoff and the ball squirted loose, with Georgia's Travis Jones recovering it at the Bulldogs 20. They marched 80 yards for the go-ahead score and then played keepaway with Hearst to lock up the win.

Jan. 2, 1995
Florida Citrus Bowl
Orlando, Fla.
Alabama 24, Ohio State 17

The Buckeyes entered the game at No. 13 after a rare (while Cooper was the coach) victory over Michigan. With the score tied at 17 in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes were forced to punt. On second down near midfield, Crimson Tide QB Jay Barker tossed a short pass to TB Sherman Lewis who avoided tacklers as he raced up the heart of the field, crossing the goal line with 42 seconds left.

Jan. 1, 1996
Florida Citrus Bowl
Orlando, Fla.
Tennessee 20, Ohio State 14

A season of so much promise sure slipped away in a hurry. Eddie George won the Heisman Trophy and the Buckeyes were stocked with NFL draftees such as QB Bobby Hoying, DE Mike Vrabel, WR Terry Glenn and OT Orlando Pace. They mauled their first 11 opponents, but again disaster awaited in the Michigan game where Tim Biakabutuka rushed for 313 yards on 37 carries to almost personally end the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes' national-title hopes. Then, in a rainy, windy bowl game, there was more disappointment. Jeff Hall kicked field goals of 29 and 25 yards in the fourth quarter to help Peyton Manning beat the Buckeyes.

Jan. 1, 2001
Outback Bowl
Tampa, Fla.
South Carolina 24, Ohio State 7

Call it Cooper's Last Stand. While the Buckeyes were in the Sunshine State preparing for the game, it was discovered one starter had a 0.00 grade-point average and an Ohio State offensive lineman was suing a linemate for a punch thrown in a fight during a practice earlier in the season. Heavy favorites to beat the Gamecocks, the 18th-ranked Buckeyes couldn't stop Ryan Brewer, a former Mr. Football in Ohio whom Cooper had not recruited. Brewer rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns - both in the fourth quarter - to push Cooper's bowl record to 3-9. Factor in a 2-10-1 mark against rival Michigan and all the academic and legal problems, and Cooper was fired days after the game.

Jan. 1, 2002
Outback Bowl
Tampa, Fla.
South Carolina 31, Ohio State 28

Tressel, hired to replace Cooper after spending 15 years at Youngstown State, did not inherit all that much talent. The Buckeyes never won more than two games in a row all season, and were rocked by starting QB Steve Bellisari's drunken-driving arrest late in the season. But Tressel retooled with sophomore Craig Krenzel calling signals and the Buckeyes upset Michigan and were favored to beat South Carolina in a repeat meeting in the Outback. But Phil Petty passed for two touchdowns and Daniel Weaver kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired to again give the Gamecocks the upset.

Jan. 8, 2007
BCS National Championship
Glendale, Ariz.
Florida 41, Ohio State 14

Again Ohio State had a Heisman Trophy winner, this time QB Troy Smith. The Buckeyes rolled over 12 opponents, including second-ranked teams Texas in Austin and Michigan at home. Florida coach Urban Meyer had to stump for his team to even make it into the title game. The Buckeyes were favored, and appeared ready to back that up after Ted Ginn Jr. returned the opening kickoff 93 yards. But the Gators controlled every facet of the game from then on, with Smith managing to complete just 4-of-14 passes for a meager 35 yards with one interception.

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